Town Hall on fiber optic internet, sign repair underway

by Geoff Fox

About a month and a half ago, Shentel Communications showed up at Hancock Town Hall asking about their equipment in the building. The town’s internet and phone service are through Comcast.

After doing some research, Town Manager Mike Faith found out the University of Maryland ran a fiber optic line from Ashburn, Va., to Frostburg for educational requirements. They stopped in Hancock to regenerate the signal.

“So we’ve had fiber optic internet service available in the building and we’re not using it,” Faith said.

Shentel is not paying for the space at Town Hall, so they’re using the building’s electricity.

When asked if the building was going to get free service, Faith said, “That’s the idea,” drawing a few chuckles from town officials.

In talking to Shentel officials, Faith asked why they were paying $300 a month to Comcast for internet service.

While the company can’t just give the service away,

they told Faith they’d send a list of rates to the town office and they decide which rate they want and then charge that as the lease.

“At the minimum, we’ll do that,” Faith said.

The town could pay a little more depending on what Shentel wants to do as they want to add more equipment.

The fiber optic internet service would only be available in Town Hall and not to the general public.

According to Shentel’s website, they do not offer services to the Hancock area.

By having the fiber optic internet service at Town Hall, all the security cameras would be changed to 4K. The service would be helpful to law enforcement, said Faith.

Faith said there could be grants available to purchase new equipment, but the internet service wouldn’t cost anything.

Hancock Town Hall won’t cut off Comcast entirely, but could downgrade to the basic service.

This would allow the town office and police to continue working and not miss a beat should something happen to the fiber optic lines.

Sign replacement

If you drove by the signs on the east end of town, you might have noticed organizations missing from the chainlink display.

The signs were removed because the top of the display needed repaired, Faith said. He told town officials the signs had been reported stolen last Tuesday night.

After taking the signs down and looking at them, Faith said some of the signs were unsalvageable and would need to go back to the organization for a new sign.

There were some that just needed cleaned up and can be put back on the display once it is repaired.

Trash collection out to bid

The Town of Hancock has put out a request for proposal regarding their trash collection.

Faith said he’s sent requests to a few collection agencies.

They’ve also advertised the bid in the newspaper.

The new contract would run May 1, through December 31, 2025. Sealed bids will be received and accepted until March 31 at 3 p.m. at Town Hall.